Independent Pursuits: Chess
Thursday 11 March 1999
This time, the organisers attracted an even stronger Englishman: none other than Nigel Short. Outgrading everybody else by more than 100 points, Short was naturally the overwhelming favourite but the spectacular loss below in the eighth round set him back on his heels and he overtook the tiring leader, the Belarussian Yuri Shulman, only in the final round, to take the cup on tie-break.
The final leading scores were Short and Shulman, 8.5/12; Ehlvest and Wojtkiewicz, 8.0; and Zagrebelny, 7.0. The leading Bangladeshi, Ziaur Rahman, was sixth, on 6.5, while Niaz Murshed whom he supplanted (at one time he was very promising and indeed beat me in the only game we've played) was only 10th equal on 4.5.
It seems unfair to give the winner's only loss, but it is sensational.
In this incredibly sharp variation, everything is on a knife edge. I imagine that in the diagram, Nigel thought that 18 f5 was forcing a win though 18 Qh8+ is also far from clear eg: Kd7 (not 18 ...Rg8? 19 Qxg8+ Nxg8 20 h7) 19 Qf8 (if 19 h7 still Rh6) Qc4 20 h7 Rxg5 21 fxg5 Qg4+ 22 Ke1 Qxg2 23 h8Q Qg3+ forces perpetual check.
As early as 21 ...Rh2, the black attack already seems decisive. After 23 ...Rxg2 Black is threatening 24 ...Qd3+! 25 cxd3 c2 mate! Short should have tried 24 Qe8+ Kxe8 25 h8Q+ Kd7 26 Qh3 but after Rxc2! 27 Qxf5 (27 Kxc2 Ned4+ forces mate ) 27 ...Rg2 28 Qxf7+ Kd8 29 Qf6+ (White can throw in 29 Bg5+ Rxg5 but it doesn't help) 29 ...Kc7 30 Qe7+ Kb8 White has run out of checks and will soon be mated.
White: Nigel Short
Black: Neeloptal Das
1 e4 e6
2 d4 d5
3 Nc3 Bb4
4 e5 c5
5 a3 Bxc3+
6 bxc3 Ne7
7 Qg4 Qc7
8 Qxg7 Rg8
9 Qxh7 cxd4
10 Kd1 dxc3
11 Nf3 Nbc6
12 Ng5 Nd8
13 f4 Bd7
14 h4 Qc5
15 h5 Bb5
16 Bxb5+ Qxb5
17 h6 Rg6
18 f5 Nxf5
19 Qh8+ Kd7
20 h7 Rh6
21 Re1 Rh2
22 Nxe6 Nxe6!
23 Qxa8 Rxg2
24 Ra2 Ne3+
25 Bxe3 Qb1+
26 Bc1 Rd2 mate
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